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Turkmenistan: U.S. Encouraging Alternate Export Route For Gas

By Mohammad Nazar

Prague, 9 January 1997 (RFE/RL) - A Turkish daily today quotes U.S. State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns as saying Washington is encouraging Turkmenistan to find an alternate route for its natural gas exports in order to avoid Iran.

Burns is quoted responding to the newspaper's question as saying the United States discourages any activity that contributes to Iran's financial resources, which Washington says are used to fund international terrorism.

Turkey, Turkmenistan and Iran have agreed to cooperate on oil and natural gas exports through Turkey. And, Burns said Washington has held talks with Ashgabat on alternate routes to export gas to Turkey and Asia. Western oil companies and Turkmenistan are also pursuing an export route to Pakistan through Afghanistan.

Burns repeated U.S. policy that Washington considers rapid development of energy resources in the Caspian as vital for the independence and properity of the state of Central Asia and the Caucasus.